Earlier today, Congressman Bill Shuster hosted Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Michael Krancer at a hearing before the Transportation and Infrastructure's Water Resources Development Subcommittee to discus the impacts of EPA regulation over hydraulic fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become a widely used technique for extracting natural gas from reservoirs such as tight sands, coal beds, and deep shales. One of the main challenges involved with hydraulic fracturing is the management of the wastewater that is produced during the process.
EPA recently announced their intention to look into implementing additional regulations on fracking wastewater under the Clean Water Act, and the main focus of this morning's hearing was ensuring that these potential regulations do not hamper the enormous economic benefits of natural gas production for states, like Pennsylvania that have strong regulatory regimes in place.
"With the development of the Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania has the opportunity to become a leading producer of shale gas," Shuster said. "I have been firm in my stance that the individual states know best in how shale gas development should be regulated. The EPA should not be allowed to tie the hands of states in developing their own gas reserves."
"I believe this is an important state's rights issue," Shuster added. "Pennsylvania knows best how to extract shale gas from its unique geology. We do not need the heavy hand of the EPA and federal regulators dictating shale gas development when the DEP is fully capable of monitoring development at the state level."
Michael Krancer, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, testified: "Our ability to unlock the huge clean burning energy source contained in unconventional shale formations will transform Pennsylvania into an energy exporter and move our nation toward energy independence. In addition, we are looking at an economic and energy transformation. We have already seen tens of thousands of new jobs here in Pennsylvania from the industry itself as well as from new industries spawned to support it. These are good paying career jobs in many fields. And that is just the start. There will be hundreds of thousands more good paying skilled and unskilled jobs in a variety of sectors."
Krancer continued, "Simply put, because of our long history of oil and gas development and comprehensive regulatory structure, Pennsylvania does not need federal intervention to ensure an appropriate balance between resources development and environmental protection is struck Pennsylvania is already showing that the balance of environmental protection and the development of this world class resources is being accomplished."
Members of the Subcommittee, the state representatives, and industry professionals agreed that EPA must not overregulate the hydraulic fracturing process, hindering millions of jobs in the process.